UNIONIST representatives will join other guest speakers, including hurling legend Donal Óg Cusack and musician Peadar O Riada, at a special forum to discuss building a better Ireland.
The forum, organised by Sinn Féin, takes place today and tomorrow in Baile Bhuirne, west Cork.
Other speakers at the inaugural An Phoblacht Autumn School include economists Michael Burke and Tom O’Connor, and Trevor O Clothartaigh of new Irish language newspaper, Gaelscéal.
West Cork Sinn Féin organiser DJ O’Driscoll said unionist representatives had accepted an invitation to attend the event. More than 100 people from all walks of life are expected at the forum.
Sinn Féin vice-president Mary Lou McDonald, who will attend the event, said she believed the school would grow to be an important forum for debating progressive ideas about building a better Ireland.
The North’s minister for regional development, Conor Murphy, will officially open the school.
Also addressing the event will be former hunger striker Raymond McCartney MLA, who will give an account of the 1980 hunger strike.
Other Sinn Féin representatives due to attend include Kerry North TD Martin Ferris, Cllr Toireasa Ferris, Sen Pearse Doherty and the party’s newest councillor Chris O’Leary, from Cork city.
Ms McDonald said the school aims to be a space for exchanging and debating ideas, for discussing issues of culture, language, history as well as economics and current affairs.
“We want to foster a debate about advancing an alternative vision for Ireland – the theme of this year’s event is ‘Time to change Ireland’. This year’s event will see debates on the all-Ireland economy, the future of the Gaeltacht and the type of positive changes that can and need to be brought about in this country.”
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